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The Wisconsin Legislature’s 2015-2016 legislative session began on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods has been established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The current floorperiod is scheduled through May 14.
The state Assembly has scheduled a floor calendar for May 13. Both 2015 Assembly Bill 78 and Senate Bill 67 have been placed on the May 13 Assembly calendar. The bills would prohibit the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) from issuing school accountability reports for the 2014-2015 school year, and DPI would not be permitted to consider the new Badger Exam, tied to Common Core Standards, when evaluating teachers and students for the current school year. Senate Bill 67 passed the Senate on voice vote in March. The Senate approved one amendment to the bill. Both bills were recently reported out of the Assembly Committee on Education, each receiving a 14-0 vote in favor of recommending passage.
The Joint Finance Committee will be meeting in executive session on May 12 and May 14 to take votes on provisions in the proposed 2015-17 state budget. Votes are scheduled to be taken on on topics including the Higher Educational Aids Board, the Educational Communications Board, the Office of State Employment Relations, mental health programs within the Department of Health Services, programs in the Department of Children and Families, and property taxes.
The state Senate held a floor session on May 6, taking up proposals that included reform of the SAGE program in K-12 schools (Senate Bill 32). The Senate passed the bill on a vote of 31-2 after approving one amendment related to funding.
The SAGE program was originally created to reduce the student-to-teacher ratio in public schools. Senate Bill 32 would replace it with a program called "Achievement Gap Reduction," which would not require strict ratios for all classrooms but rather, would allow a school to use a combination of methods to qualify for funding.The Legislative Council introduced the bill.